Best smartphones for under R10,000 in South Africa

There is an extensive range of powerful mid-range smartphones available in South Africa for less than R10,000.

These devices strike a good balance between performance and pricing, making them great options for the demanding smartphone user who doesn’t want to burn a hole in their wallet.

There are plenty of reputed brands to choose from for Android users, including Samsung, Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi.

Samsung has been capturing parts of the mid-range market with its Galaxy A series, with the latest enticing entries being the Galaxy A52 and Galaxy A72.

These smartphones have received praise from multiple reviewers for their solid hardware at just the right price point.

Although Apple is not generally known for affordability, it also offers an option in this category.

The 2020 edition of the iPhone SE may look like an iPhone 8, but it packs much better performance under the hood thanks to the A13 Bionic chip, also used in the iPhone 11.

We’ve compiled a list of the best powerful mid-range smartphones priced at around R10,000 or less in South Africa.

The specifications in the tables below are for the exact models that are on sale in the links. Other configurations may also be available.


Huawei P40 Lite 5G – R6,978

The Huawei P40 Lite 5G is among the cheapest 5G smartphonesyou can buy in South Africa right now.

It runs on Huawei’s Kirin 820 5G chip paired with 6GB RAM and packs a 4,000mAh battery that supports 40W fast charging, the fastest of any smartphone on our list.

It also has a larger main camera sensor than its LTE counterpart.

One major caveat is that thanks to the ongoing feud between the US and China, the Huawei P40 Lite 5G still does not integrate into the Google ecosystem via Google Mobile Services.

Huawei P40 Lite 5G
OS EMUI 10.1 on Android 10 (no GMS)
Display 6.5-inch 1,080 x 2,400 IPS LCD
Processor Kirin 820 5G
RAM 6GB
Storage 128GB, nanoSD up to 256GB
Rear camera 64MP + 8MP + 2MP + 2MP
Front camera 16MP
Connectivity  802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.1
Ports USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack
Cellular 5G
Dual SIM No
Biometrics Side-mounted fingerprint reader
Battery and charging 4,000mAh
40W charging
5W reverse charging
Dimensions 162.3 x 75 x 8.6mm (189g)

Oppo A74 5G – R7,999

Oppo’s most recent release in the South African market now contends with Huawei and Xiaomi for the cheapest 5G smartphone.

The brand might not yet be as established as Huawei locally, but it has performed well globally, and its A74 5G boasts one major advantage over the P40 Lite — it supports Google Mobile Services (GMS).

It also boasts a larger 5,000mAh battery.

Oppo A74 5G
OS ColorOS 11.1 on Android 11
Display 6.5-inch 1,080 x 2,400 IPS LCD with 90Hz refresh rate
Processor Snapdragon 480 5G
RAM 6GB
Storage 128GB, microSD up to 256GB
Rear camera 48MP + 8MP + 2MP + 2MP
Front camera 16MP
Connectivity  802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.1
Ports USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack
Cellular 5G
Dual SIM No
Biometrics Side-mounted fingerprint reader
Battery and charging 5,000mAh
18W charging
Dimensions 162.9 x 74.7 x 8.4mm (190g)

Huawei Nova 5T – R8,149

The Nova 5T is one of Huawei’s last releases with GMS support, and it’s truly a formidable device at its price.

With a flagship Kirin 980 processor and 8GB RAM, it’s certainly one of the best contenders on the list for mobile gamers and users with big performance expectations.

At a weight of 174g and thickness of 7.8mm, it’s also one of the lightest and thinnest devices on our list.

Nova 5T

Huawei Nova 5T
OS EMUI 10.0 on Android 9.0
Display Kirin 980
Processor 6.26-inch 1,080 x 2,340 IPS LCD
RAM 8GB
Storage 128GB
Rear camera 48MP + 16MP + 2MP + 2MP
Front camera 32MP
Connectivity  802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-C
Cellular LTE
Dual SIM No
Biometrics Side-mounted fingerprint reader
Battery 3,750mAh
22.5W
Dimensions 154.3 x 74 x 7.8mm (174g)

Hisense Infinity H50 – R8,249

Hisense is well-known for its affordable, high-quality TVs, but the company is also trying to make inroads into the local smartphone market.

The Infinity H50 is at the top of its range in South Africa and packs plenty of power and features.

Its huge 6.81-inch display is the biggest of all the smartphones on our list and offers the highest resolution – 1,080 x 2,460 – and supports a 90Hz refresh rate.

Hisense Infinity H50
OS Android 11
Display 6.81-inch 1,080 x 2,460 IPS LCD with 90Hz refresh rate
Processor MediaTek Helio G90T
RAM 6GB
Storage 128GB, microSD up to 256GB
Rear camera 64MP + 8MP + 2MP + 2MP
Front camera 32MP
Connectivity  802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack
Cellular LTE
Dual SIM No
Biometrics Side-mounted fingerprint reader
Battery and charging 5,000mAh
Dimensions 170.08 x 78.05 x 9.18mm (205g)

Samsung Galaxy A52 LTE – R8,199

The successor of the highly popular Galaxy A50 and Galaxy A51, the Galaxy A52 has received high praise for striking all the right chords in what can be expected from a mid-ranger.

It boasts a large OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, a high-end quad-camera system, and under-display biometric authentication.

The A50 series of smartphones are among Samsung’s best-sellers, and this one appears likely to keep that trend going.

Samsung Galaxy A52 LTE
OS One UI 3.1 on Android 11
Display 6.5-inch 1,080 x 2,400 OLED with 90Hz refresh rate
Processor Snapdragon 720G
RAM 4GB
Storage 128GB, microSD up to 1TB
Rear camera 64MP + 12MP + 5MP + 5MP
Front camera 32MP
Connectivity  802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack
Cellular LTE
Dual SIM Yes
Biometrics Under-display fingerprint reader
Battery and charging 4,500mAh
25W charging
Dimensions 159.9 x 75.1 x 8.4 mm (189g)

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G – R8,999

Xiaomi offers an impressive range of smartphones boasting potent cameras at great prices.

The Mi 10T Pro normally retails for between R11,000 to R13,000. However, it can be bought as a special import from Connected Devices at R8,999.

Its impressive components are on par with some of the latest flagships from Android rivals. These include the Snapdragon 865 processor with 8GB RAM, a large IPS display with a 144Hz refresh rate and a rear triple camera with a massive 108MP sensor.

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G
OS MIUI 12.5 on Android 10
Display 6.67-inch 1,080 x 2,400 IPS LCD with 144Hz refresh rate
Processor Snapdragon 865 5G
RAM 8GB
Storage 128GB
Rear camera 108MP + 13MP + 5MP
Front camera 20MP
Connectivity  Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
Ports USB-C
Cellular 5G
Dual SIM Yes
Biometrics Side-mounted fingerprint reader
Battery and charging 5,000mAh
33W charging
Dimensions 165.1 x 76.4 x 9.3mm (218g)

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G – R8,798

The 5G variant of the A52 offers faster network connectivity and boasts a display with a higher refresh rate than the LTE version.

This is enabled by a more powerful Snapdragon 750G chipset, paired with 6GB RAM instead of the 4GB on the Galaxy A52 sold in South Africa.

In other areas — like the camera and battery — you’re getting the same specs as on the LTE model.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
OS One UI 3.1 on Android 11
Display 6.5-inch 1,080 x 2,400 OLED with 120Hz refresh rate
Processor Snapdragon 750G
RAM 6GB
Storage 128GB, microSD up to 1TB
Rear camera 64MP + 12MP + 5MP + 5MP
Front camera 32MP
Connectivity  802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack
Cellular 5G
Dual SIM Yes
Biometrics Under-display fingerprint reader
Battery 4,500mAh
25W charging
Dimensions 159.9 x 75.1 x 8.4mm (189g)

Samsung Galaxy A72 — R9,999

The Galaxy A72 is the bigger brother of the A52 LTE, which means it shares most of the same specifications, aside from the larger display and battery.

Importantly, however, it also offers 6GB RAM in the entry-level model, which will be important for snappier performance when you have several apps open.

Combined, these small improvements on the A52 make it better suited for gamers and multimedia-hungry users.

Samsung Galaxy A72
OS OneUI 3.1 on Android 11
Display 6.7-inch 1,080 x 2,400 OLED with 90Hz refresh rate
Processor Snapdragon 720G
RAM 6GB
Storage 128GB, microSD up to 1TB
Rear camera 64MP + 12MP + 8MP + 5MP
Front camera 32MP
Connectivity  802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack
Cellular LTE
Dual SIM No
Biometrics Under-display fingerprint reader
Battery 5,000mAh
25W charging
Dimensions 165 x 77.4 x 8.4mm (203g)

Apple iPhone SE 128GB (2020) – R9,999

The iPhone SE 2020 is the only real recent budget option from Apple.

While it’s far behind the other smartphones on this list in most departments, it’s a great option for those more familiar with iOS and the Apple ecosystem.

We’ve listed the 128GB model, so the comparison is in line with the other devices on the list.

Apple iPhone SE 2020
OS iOS 13
Display 4.7-inch 750 x 1,334 IPS LCD
Processor A13 Bionic
RAM 6GB
Storage 128GB
Rear camera 12MP
Front camera 7MP
Connectivity  Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
Ports Lightning
Cellular LTE
Dual SIM No
Biometrics Touch ID fingerprint reader
Battery 1,821mAh
18W charging
Dimensions 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm (148g)

Huawei P30 – R9,999

The P30 may be more than two years old at this stage, but its specifications can still see it punch its way through the mid-rangers above.

Notably, it is the last Huawei P-series flagship smartphone to support GMS.

The Kirin 980 chip paired with 8GB RAM certainly won’t disappoint in terms of performance at this price point.

It’s also the only non-Samsung smartphone in this category with an OLED display.

Huawei P30
OS EMUI 10 on Android 9.0
Display 6.1-inch 1,080 x 2,340 OLED
Processor Kirin 980
RAM 8GB
Storage 128GB, microSD up to 256GB
Rear camera 40MP + 16MP + 8MP
Front camera 32MP
Connectivity  802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack
Cellular LTE
Dual SIM Yes
Biometrics Under-display fingerprint reader
Battery 3,650mAh
22.5W
Dimensions 149.1 x 71.4 x 7.6 mm (165 g)

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Best smartphones for under R10,000 in South Africa